- Nine-year-old Rudicia Galant's body was found near a water canal in Dysselsdorp on Sunday.
- The little girl was with a group of friends when she accidentally fell into the water.
- She had a dream to become a teacher one day.
The aunt of a 9-year-old girl who drowned in a water canal in Dysselsdorp, near Oudtshoorn over the weekend, says their family is heartbroken after the ordeal.
Rudicia Galant was playing with friends in the vicinity of the canal when she accidentally fell into the water on Sunday morning.
Southern Cape police spokesperson Sergeant Christopher Spies, said another girl attempted to rescue her and also slipped and fell into the water.
Bystanders saw but only managed to rescue the second girl.
Rudicia's aunt, Alicia Marnewick, told News24 that the one thing she misses the most about her niece is her bubbly personality and "talkative" nature.
"Rudicia was a bubbly and intelligent little girl who would light up any place she would stumble across," she said.
Marnewick said that when she heard her niece had fallen into the canal, she rushed to the scene to find the authorities searching for her and lots of people standing around.
"I did not understand at first what was happening. I was in shock and could not believe what had happened," she added.
She said she stood and watched anxiously near the canal to try to spot her niece. "I started to panic when the police said they didn't find her body yet," she said.
'We are not alright'
But the suspense was too much and she left while the search was still under way.
According to Marnewick, her brother and stepfather went to identify the body after it was discovered. She said the family was still trying to deal with the fact that the little girl will never return again.
"We are not alright; my family is still in shock. We are very emotional," she said.
Marnewick said Rudicia was looking forward to the start of the second school term.
"She had dreams of becoming a teacher one day, and she loved sitting with books when she was at home. She was always with her books and would always be reading," she said.
She added that Rudicia was not a fussy child and absolutely loved eating, especially sweets and chips.
Watching TV series was also one of her favourite things to do and she would be glued to the TV screen when her programme came on.
Rudicia's mother died a few years ago, so she would split her weekends between her dad's house and her grandmother.
She would have turned 10 years old on 21 July.
"It is very sad to think that just a few days ago she was alive and playing with her friends, and now she has been ripped away forever," Marnewick said.
Police said an autopsy would be conducted this week. No funeral arrangements have been made yet.
"We will miss Rudicia very much. The house will never be the same again, but we know she's in a much better place, with her mother," Marnewick said.
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